With gratitude, we acknowledge the financial and in-kind support of the following organizations and individuals.
BC Federation of Fly Fishers
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
British Columbia Ministry of Environment (previously Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection)
City of Merritt
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fraser Basin Council
Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program
Government of British Columbia - Living Rivers Fund
Highland Valley Copper
Integrated Land Management Bureau
Pacific Salmon Foundation
Pacific Salmon Foundation – Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program
RBC Blue Water Project
Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia
Spences Bridge Steelhead Advocate Association
Thompson Nicola Regional District
Watershed Watch Salmon Society
A layer of gravel, sand, or porous, fractured, or cavernous rock capable of holding and/or conducting water. An aquifer saturated with water is referred to as being fully charged. An aquifer is a formation, group of formations or part of a formation containing enough saturated permeable material to produce significant amounts of water to wells and springs. A confined or artesian aquifer is an aquifer bounded both below and above by beds of considerably lower permeability than that in the aquifer itself. The groundwater in a confined aquifer is under pressure that is significantly greater than that existing in the atmosphere.
A well obtaining its water from an artesian or confined aquifer in which the water is forced upward from below. The water level in a flowing artesian well rises above the land surface.
Wastewater from toilets.
The variety, distribution and abundance of different plants, animals, and microorganisms; the ecological functions and processes they perform; and the genetic diversity they contain.
In British Columbia there is no easy definition of this condition. Three different types of drought may be considered when deciding whether or not a given area is suffering drought conditions. These are: 1) meteorological drought – a lack of precipitation, 2) agricultural drought – lack of soil moisture to support crops, 3) hydrological droughts – low water levels in streams, lakes and wells.
The movement of water from the soil, an individual plant, or plant communities to the atmosphere by evaporation of water from the soil and transpiration of water by plants.
Wastewater generated by household processes such as washing dishes, laundry and bathing.
The water that moves down into the soil from the upper soil layers following precipitation. Groundwater is stored in aquifers. Groundwater may move underground by streams and seepage.
Hydrologic or Hydrological Cycle
The continuous circulation of water between the ocean, atmosphere and land.
The movement of water from the surface into the soil.
The main course of a river or stream where most of the water flows most of the time.
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
The greatest amount of a contaminant that can be present in water without causing a risk to its intended use; the maximum level of a contaminant allowed in water to maintain aquatic life, to minimize pollution, to permit recreation, or to allow water to be used as a drinking water source.
The movement of water down through the subsurface layers of soil, usually continuing to the depth of groundwater or water table. The oozing or soaking of water through openings in rock or soil. The entrance of a portion of the stream flow (surface water) into the channel materials (silt, rock, soil) and making its way down through the soils to become part of groundwater.
The volume of water coming from precipitation (rain and snow) that flows into an aquifer over a unit time period.
Pertaining to anything connected with or immediately adjacent to the banks of a stream or other body of water.
A layer of large rocks placed along stream banks or lakeshores to protect them from erosion. It also refers to the rocks themselves.
The part of precipitation and snowmelt that reaches streams by flowing over or through the ground. Surface runoff flows away without penetrating the soils.
Water which is primarily surface runoff from streets and other impervious surfaces associated with urbanization/development.
Water that flows in streams and rivers, lakes and ponds, in wetlands and in reservoirs constructed by humans, but on the surface of the land and not underground as distinguished from groundwater.
A smaller stream which flows into a larger stream. Usually a number of tributaries flow into a larger water course to form a river.
Water with waste materials or pollutants in it, including greywater, blackwater or other contaminated water. Wastewater is not suitable for reuse unless treated.
The land on which precipitation falls from the atmosphere and moves downslope to other locations. Each watershed is a catchment area divided from the next watershed by topographic features, most noticeably ridgetops.
See Hydrologic Cycle
The chemical, physical and biological characteristics of water.
Below a certain depth, the ground is saturated with groundwater. This is the saturated zone. Above this depth, the pores and fracture spaces are unsaturated and may contain some water and air. This is the unsaturated or vadose zone. At the top of the saturated zone, as well as in the vadose zone, the groundwater is held in the pores and fracture spaces under tension (negative or vacuum pressure) by capillary forces. This thin saturated layer where water is held under tension is the capillary fringe. The pressure head increases from a negative value at the top of the capillary fringe to zero at the bottom of the capillary fringe. The bottom of the capillary fringe layer where pressure head is zero is defined as the water table.
Water Quantity | Water Quality | Population & Economic Activity | Wildlife | Forestry | Lack of Knowledge
The water-related issues in the Nicola watershed can be summarized under the following themes:
security of supply for water license holders
inadequate/insufficient stream flow for fish
cumulative decrease in surface water supply
drought, low river flows
impact on forage production
unregulated new well construction
impact of wells on groundwater supply
lack of knowledge about surface and groundwater interaction
concern: maintain high standard
effect of water temperature on fish
activities in the riparian zone
leaching from landfills
Increase in Population & Economic Activity
impact of development on water resources
concern: will there be adequate water to sustain existing and projected uses?
lack of knowledge in government about the impact of development
lack of integrated planning
impact of increasing the storage capacity of certain lakes, i.e. Nicola Lake and the unfinished Nicola dam
Wildlife & their Water Requirements
mountain pine beetle and the impact of logging
impact of natural mortality in pine forest on water resource
Lack of Knowledge & Understanding
the water resource
uses (residential/golf and resorts/ranching, etc.)
how to provide input
The Nicola Water Use Management Plan is the culmination of 55 months of meetings, information gathering to fill key knowledge gaps, analysis of water issues, the development of social, economic and environmental goals, and plan synthesis complete with 37 recommended policy instruments to address the issues and meet the goals. A Multi-Stakeholder Committee provided direction for the community-driven planning process and was assisted by a Planning Team/Steering Committee.
The Plan is considered a living plan and as such will be periodically reviewed and updated.
The reports listed below provide information about the Nicola watershed and more specifically about the water resource in the watershed. Not all the reports listed below have been reviewed by the Nicola WUMP planning process. For reports that have been reviewed and commented on as part of the planning process leading to a water use management plan for the Nicola watershed, a note has been added to that effect at the end of the description.
August 3, 2009 – 71 pages – 10.3MB WinZip file (needs to be updated)
The report was prepared by Solander Ecological Research. It summarizes existing information on fish distribution and life history timing in selected rivers and streams of the Nicola watershed; provides preliminary instream flow recommendations for stream-dwelling salmonids; compares targets to natural water availability; and provides recommendations for further work with respect to understanding and resolving fish-flow issues in the Nicola watershed.
The main body of the report is 44 pages long. The report has four appendices. The second, third and fourth appendices are tables of numbers which show the calculations for the water budget final figures for each of the sub-basins.
The objectives of the water budget analysis were to calculate the water budget in relation to water supply and water use for the Nicola watershed and its sub-basins; to comment on water surplus or shortages for each sub-basin and, where applicable, within each sub-basin; and to recommend geographic areas for further study and monitoring.
The analysis was carried out by Water Management Consultants (Richmond, BC).
The final report on the Surface and Groundwater Supply and Interaction Study – Phase 1 and 2 consists of the three PDF files listed above. The study was carried out by Water Management Consultants Ltd. (Richmond, BC). The objectives of the water supply study were: to determine current water supply (surface and groundwater) and seasonal patterns of supply for the entire watershed; to forecast water supply and seasonal patterns stemming from climate change; and to identify where and to what degree surface and groundwater, including aquifers, interact in order to understand more fully the implications of water extraction. The final report on Phase 1 and 2 of the water supply study describes the surficial geology and the types of aquifers found within the watershed, discusses groundwater and surface water interaction, estimates the water supply for each of the ten sub-basins of the Nicola watershed and projects future water supply. The major conclusion from the study was that any groundwater abstraction in the Nicola watershed will reduce downstream flows
The final report consists of 4 documents and 3 Excel Spreadsheets
The three EXCEL spreadsheets are entitled:
The report provides information on 345 identified water storage sites in the Nicola watershed. The goals of Phase 1 of the Additional Storage Sites Study were:
a) to build a listing of sites with potential storage for water along the Nicola River and its tributaries;
b) to develop criteria for identifying sites suitable for further study;
c) to calculate the relative amount of water that could be stored a these sites.
In addition to the report, a number of maps were produced showing swamps, topography and slope ranges, biogeoclimatic and moisture zones, land tenure and rural parcels, pine stands, agricultural land reserve, critical ungulate winter range and water catchment areas in each of the ten sub-basins of the Nicola watershed.
October 2007 – 47 pages without Appendix A, 392KB
The report is a compilation of the work done on the Nicola Water Use Management Plan between July 2005 and July 2007. The main body of the report summarizes the accomplishments and completed projects in this period and provides an update on the works in progress. The report is intended only as a reference document. For more detailed information on any of the topics discussed in the report, the reader is referred to the original documents.
Appendix A consists of the first 11 issues of the droplet. Click here to view/print these issues.
June 2007 - 223 pages, 1.07MB
June 27, 2007 - 6 pages
The above report summarizes the findings of a study carried out by Summit Environmental Consultants in the latter half of 2006. The goal of the study was to determine as accurately as possible current and future demand for water in the Nicola watershed. The principle objectives of the study were to:
a) quantify current (2006) water demand by sub-basin and sector on an annual, monthly and weekly basis (August and September);
b) compare water demands with licensed quantities in the watershed in order to identify potential water licensing issues;
c) evaluate irrigation efficiency in the watershed;
d) develop future projections of water demand by sector and sub-basin taking into account three different growth and climate change scenarios.
The scope of the study excluded the demand for water by the fisheries resource and that required for maintaining or enhancing existing ecological systems.
Actual water use data was not readily available. Therefore, the report provides only estimates of water demand and water use. Future projections of water demand using three different scenarios are provided for 2020 and 2050.
The Multi-Stakeholder Committee of Nicola WUMP reviewed the study findings and had a number of comments related to the study findings and the information contained in the final report. In order to address these, the decision was made to prepare an addendum to the report. The Present and Future Water Demand Study and the final report met the terms of reference that were developed for the project. The intention of the addendum is not to question the validity of the study findings but to add clarity, highlight a number of statements made in the report, and provide context in order to minimize misinterpretation of the data and comments that are found in the final report. It is recommended that the addendum be read in conjunction with the report.
March 2007 - 52 pages, 0.99MB
The report was prepared by WMI Water Management Consultants International Inc. (Kamloops). The report summarizes the results of a look at water governance models around the world and outlines why a water management governance structure is necessary to meet water stewardship requirements. The report also summarizes the main discussion points from a meeting on February 21, 2007 in which members of the Multi-Stakeholder Committee of Nicola WUMP took part. The report concludes with a suggested way forward regarding institutional development. There are five appendices after the ten-page body of the report.
November 2006 - 19 pages, 1.18MB
The author of this review is Tanis Douglas, RPBio. The review summarizes information on surface and groundwater links, the importance of groundwater to salmon, and current policies on groundwater use and important gaps in the current groundwater policy in British Columbia. The author reviewed 67 reports and papers about surface and groundwater interaction related to fish habitat; behavioural thermoregulation and redd site selection; artificial groundwater recharge and groundwater use in fish restoration; management and use of surface and groundwater with respect to fish; and groundwater fish management needs.
October 30, 2006 - 53 pages, 5.15MB
The report's author is Todd Hatfield of Solander Ecological Research, Victoria, BC. The report summarizes some of the existing information on instream fish flows in the Nicola watershed and provides recommendations for further work with respect to understanding and resolving fish-flow issues. The main body of the report ends with these recommendations:
1) produce defensible time series of naturalized flows for the Nicola River and its tributaries;
2) conduct a quantitative analysis of water use and its effects on fish habitat;
3) establish instream flow targets for fisheries, based on empirical and overview methods, including temperature modeling;
4) conduct trade-off analyses in the WUMP using a third party experienced decision analyst and facilitator;
5) develop tools to manage the water resources in the face of conflicting needs, including development of rules under different flow scenarios such as wet and dry years;
6) incorporate climate change projections into water management decisions;
7) avoid further water allocation for out-of-stream uses.
September 2006 – 34 pages
The report summarizes information about nine organizations that manage aspects of water. They are the Oldman Watershed Council, Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, Mount Werner Water Board, Manitoba Conservation Districts, La Salle Redboine Conservation District, Turtle Mountain Conservation District, Okanagan-Basin Water Board, Bow River Irrigation District and Bonaparte Water Users Group. The report describes these entities in terms of their legal status; the selection, composition, term and qualifications of the board of directors; mandate and limits of authority; types of decisions made and how decision are made; reporting requirements; sources of income; user fee structure; staffing and budget line items.
This report was reviewed and accepted by the Multi-Stakeholder Committee of Nicola WUMP.
March 2006 – 102 pages, 3.9 MB
The report provides a history of the building of the current dam, explains why it was not completed, and discusses and evaluates the engineering options for completing the Nicola Dam. The purpose of the study, which was carried out by Urban Systems Ltd., was to conduct an objective assessment of the feasibility of dam completion. Technical engineering factors, impacts and technical financial /economic analysis were the criteria selected to determine feasibility. The report also outlines a way forward, the benefits from dam completion and the social, environmental financial and economic considerations that will have to be weighed in deciding whether or not to move forward with implementing the recommended engineering option.
September 2005 – 43 pages
The report summarizes the activities that took place between November 15, 2004 and June 30, 2005. The report provides a brief background as to how the planning process came about, includes the terms of reference for the planning process and its structure. It summarizes the work of five committees and sets out next steps for Phase 2 - plan development.
January 2005 – 45 pages
The report summarizes the findings of a study commissioned by the Nicola Stockbreeders Association. The study was carried out by Jeremy Cooke of Urban Systems Ltd. The report describes the natural processes at work in the Nicola watershed, the ecological process and the human activities. It discusses in general terms water use, water availability and the water balance. The report identifies some of the issues around water, provides an assessment of those issues and sets out some first steps for developing future local water management strategies.
December 2004 – 26 pages
The report’s author is Gerry Tonn of Urban Systems Ltd. who facilitated the workshop. The report summarizes the discussions that took place around water issues, vision and goals for the future of the Nicola basin, knowledge gaps and next steps. The report includes a list of all the workshop participants, the names of the presenters and the titles of their presentations.
September 2004 – 98 pages
This study was commissioned by the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council. The report’s authors are Dr. Marvin Roseneau and Mark Angelo. The report looks at water flows and water extraction in two BC rivers, the Nicola and the Englishmen. The report discusses the impact of water extraction on fish and how government has responded to increasing demands for new water license applications. The report recommends several ways for government agencies and the public to protect and restore fish flows.
February 2004 – 71 pages
This is a summary report on a public forum that was held in Merritt on February 21, 2004. The report includes the list of participants, speakers and presenters and their presentations, and a summary of the question and answer period that followed.
May 2003 – 33 pages
This report was prepared by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The report summarizes the agricultural and water supply issues and constraints throughout the country and in each region. The information in the report came from consultations that were undertaken in order to provide guidelines for the development of the National Water Supply Expansion Program.
May 2003 – 51 pages
This strategy was prepared by Urban Systems for the City of Merritt. The report is divided into six chapters: introduction, why is water conservation important, overview of Merritt’s water system, moving towards Merritt’s water conservation strategy, water conservation measures and conclusion and recommendations. The report includes tables and charts showing average water demand in Merritt and elsewhere, highest daily water use, average daily water use per person, water and wastewater system expenditures, and city spending on water conservation.
December 2002 – 54 pages
The report identifies and evaluates sites within the Coldwater River watershed that have the potential to create or increase water storage for the purpose of enhancing habitat for three target fish species during low flow periods. A total of 21 sites are prioritized. Eight additional sites are recommended for further study. The report’s author is Brian Guy of Summit Environmental Consultants Ltd.
November 2001 – 47 pages excluding appendices
The recovery plan was prepared by LGL Limited. The plan identifies and sets priorities for activities required to achieve the recovery goals for the Coldwater watershed and its fish stocks. The report includes a stock and watershed profile, and information about the stock and freshwater habitat condition. It discusses the biological, and socio-economic factors influencing recovery, and presents recovery objectives, targets, strategies and options.
July 2001 – 32 pages
The study was carried out by Henderson Environmental Consulting for Tolko Industries Ltd. The study was exploratory in nature and had the following objectives: a) to test the accuracy of aerial versus ground measured stream temperature; and b) to explore the utility of other features of aerial photographic technology to complement the existing Tolko stream-temperature monitoring project in the Coldwater River.
May 1988 – 34 pages
The study examined water quality in Chapperon Creek, Upper Nicola River, Spahomin Creek, Moore Creek, Quilchena Creek, Wasley Creek and the Nicola River at the outlet of Nicola Lake. The report’s author, D. W. Holmes, concluded that Nicola Lake “obviously acts as a ‘sink’ retaining phosphorous in the sediments and that total nitrogen exiting the lake was always in the form of organic indicating the source was probably algae cells”.
July 1983 – 66 pages
The Nicola Basin Environment Strategic Plan was the first example of this type of planning for the Ministry of Environment. The report is divided into four chapters: an introduction; management strategies for water and anadromous fisheries, water quality, resident sport fisheries and wildlife; response to the strategic plan; conclusions; and a recommended management strategy.
May 1983 – 327 pages
This document provides a summary of the information and analyses that support the Summary of the Nicola Basin Strategic Plan. It contains an integrated information base of the Nicola basin at the strategic level. The report contains numerous tables of data and figures.
May 1983 – 84 pages
The report summarizes the results of further work (a preliminary assessment was done in 1981) to assess the benefits to agriculture and fish of a new dam to replace the existing dam at the western outlet of Nicola Lake. The report includes a preliminary design for the new dam with cost estimates; and data on storage, licensed uses, water supply, water levels, value of the fishery resource, etc. The author of the report is L.A. Bergman.
September 1982 – 147 pages, 17.8 MB
The authors of the report are G.T. Kosakoski and Roy E. Hamilton. The report examines the hydrology of the Nicola River system and analyses low flows. Data on the fisheries resource is summarized including, distribution, timing, and escapements of salmon stocks. Information on the economic value of the fisheries resource is provided. Spawning and rearing habitat was studied and the results are discussed in the report. Nearly half of the report is comprised of appendices containing data, figures and graphs to support the conclusions. Recommendations are made regarding regulation of storage on Nicola Lake for the benefit of the fisheries resource.
1979 – 63 pages
The report summarizes the findings of a one-year intensive study on water quality of the Nicola-Coldwater watershed. This study took place in 1979. The objectives of the study were: a) to determine the basic water quality of the Nicola River; b) to determine the effect of the Merritt STP on the Coldwater and Nicola Rivers prior to plant operating in late 1979; c) to determine the basic limnology of Nicola Lake. The author of the report is D. W. Holmes.
A watershed is a geographic area that encompasses all the bodies of water (creeks, rivers, streams, lakes, etc.) that drain into a river or river system. In our case, the river is the Nicola River. in the southern interior of British Columbia.
The words ‘watershed’ and ‘basin’ mean the same thing.